Did you check out the video we posted of last year’s fight between Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido yet? If not, go do that before we even begin. You need to understand how great of a fight that was and that you should be extremely excited for the rematch.
As we’re lucky enough to have happen regularly in boxing this weekends action once again presents us with three very exciting match ups. The first of which is Ricky Burns facing off with Paulus Moses. For those fans who don’t follow the action going down in the UK on a regular basis, or at all, Ricky is a slight underdog here. Which is kind of the story of “The Rickster’s” (worst nickname ever?) career so far. It seems every fight this kid goes into he ain’t supposed to win yet he somehow keeps pulling off upset after upset. He’s coming off a win against Michael Katsidis and we’d say he’s better placed for a win on Saturday than his challenger. Moses is certainly a talented boxer and The Ring actually has him rated above Burns in its rankings. We frankly cannot understand that. Moses has not met the same level of competition as Burns over the course of the past two years and that could very well be his downfall. That said, it could also be to his benefit. In much the way we don’t believe Lucien Bute has fought the same level of opposition as Carl Froch which could be Froch’s downfall, Moses may be at a advantage simply because he hasn’t had gruelling fight after gruelling fight. This leaves him better positioned to take the fight deep. Burns isn’t shy about going to the cards though, and that’s how we see him winning on Saturday.
Later in the evening we have a great card from Showtime. The two fights which interest us the most though are Mikey Garcia/Bernabe Concepcion and the previously mentioned Lopez/Salido rematch.
Mikey Garcia is regularly regarded by his trainer and brother, Robert Garcia, as the most naturally talented fighter in his gym. You read that right. A cat that trains fighters like Nonito Donaire, Brian Viloria, Brandon Rios and Victor Ortiz claims Mikey is the most gifted. Once you watch Mikey in the ring though, that quickly starts to shine through. Although his defense often times leaves a lot of be desired Mikey hits with scary power and great counter punching on the inside. For a guy who is often ragged on for not training hard enough the young Mikey Garcia has looked great against anyone he’s matched up against so far.
We don’t see a fight against Concepcion going much different. Concepcion was at one time a very promising prospect but has since had his career go off the rails. It could very well be his willingness to fight the best that has taken his career to where it currently is but Mikey Garcia isn’t going to help that. The 24 year old Filipino boxer was blasted out against Juan Manuel Lopez in a title fight 2 years ago and has a history of TKO and KO losses. Garcia is known for knocking cats out. And that’s precisely what he’ll do here. This seems more like an opportunity to showcase Garcia than to provide him with a truly tough fight. A win might move him up the rankings but he needs to face stiffer competition soon, and showdowns against Mexican fighters such as Jhonny Gonzalez, Daniel Ponce de Leon or Rafael Marquez would surely be exciting affairs and could also serve to catapult him near the top of the division.
Now for the reason we’ll all be tuning in Saturday: Lopez/Salido II. In the original fight Salido went in as a huge underdog with many expecting Lopez’s hands would be too fast and he would prove too hard for Salido too track down and punish. That ended up being far from the truth. For some reason Lopez decided he would get in a dogfight and trade with Salido on the inside. Why? We have no idea. Salido is another in a long line of granite chinned Mexican fighters and that shone through when these two met last year. So often when previewing and making predictions in boxing you only have hypothetical to go off of in terms of how fights will go. Not the case here, as we saw what Lopez simply cannot do if he hopes to win on Saturday night. Standing and trading with Salido is a recipe for disaster, he throws bombs and eats punches for breakfast. You don’t back him up. He hardly took a step back against Lopez last time out, instead taking his best shots and continuing to move forward to bring the fight to him.
Lopez’s key here is his movement. He needs to stay away from Salido’s onslaught and not get dragged into another war. If he can utilize his ample advantage in terms of hand speed and lateral movement he can wear down Salido over the course of the fight. In the first encounter Lopez almost seemed to only want to knock Salido out. He will have had to come to terms with the fact he simply cannot knock out Salido without wearing him down considerably. If he makes Salido move around all night and wears him down than perhaps a late KO would be possible, but it isn’t happening early in the fight.
As for Orlando Salido, he already has Lopez’s number. He saw exactly what works against him. So what does he do this fight? He has to impose his will against JuanMa, bottom line. One would imagine Salido has taken his cardio training even more serious than normal, predicting Lopez will opt to move around a lot more. He is aware he can handle the Puerto Rican’s punches, so now its a matter of taking everything he gives him and then starting to back him down. He also knows he has the power to KO Lopez. The first fight may have ended a bit premature, but Lopez was going down sooner or later. Salido will hope for more of the same.
This fight presents a very interesting dilemma. Lopez is certainly the more talented of the two, he’s a far better boxer. But Salido is an iron-willed warrior who has no interest in ever quitting or moving back. So what happens Saturday? We think Lopez demonstrates his considerable boxing ability and wears out Salido over the course of the fight. He won’t KO him, but he will regain his title and some pride in front of his fellow Puerto Ricans. Regardless, its going to be a rollercoaster.